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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What are the signs of schizophrenia?

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  • 2

    Thanks

    Dr Paul McQueen

    Clinical Psychologist, Psychologist

    Before a diagnosis of schizophrenia is made, one of the criteria is that the symptoms of the condition have been continuously present for at least six months. This is because people can sometimes present with all of the symptoms seen in schizophrenia but make a complete recovery. In answer to this question, then, it is important to be aware that the signs of schizophrenia may not mean a person has schizophrenia.

    The characteristic symptoms of schizophrenia are delusions (fixed false beliefs that, often, are quite unusual or grandiose); hallucinations (such as hearing voices that aren't there or seeing things that aren't there); disorganised speech or behaviour and becoming passive, withdrawn, unmotivated and unexpressive. Usually some, but not all, of these symptoms wil be present.

    Often, the symptoms described above are preceeded by a period of up to twelve months of subtle deterioration in mood, motivation and academic or work performance that can initially look like depression. There is no way at the time to know that this is an early stage of schizophrenia - that can only be determined retrospectively, after the characterisitc symptoms described earlier have been continous for more than six months.

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